The Moléson VF with the Narrative Clip 2

The Narrative Clip 2 is a specialist camera that can be programmed to take photos at regular intervals whilst you enjoy activities. This is sometimes referred to as life logging. The idea is that you wear the camera either on clothing or place it somewhere where it can capture the passage of time.

For this event the camera was worn around my neck and took pictures throughout the activity. As you can see from the last image I had the Ricoh Theta S on a monopod and the Sony Xperia Z5 compact for other pictures. You do not see that I had a fourth camera with a 30 times optical zoom.

The camera took over four hundred images during this event and I chose just a few. I avoid sharing images of people unless I have their informed consent. I share the images that best represent the pleasant moments.

If I took the time I could rotate this camera to be horizontal and I could capture daily timelapses. Every time I go for a bike ride or a hike it would capture regular images. The camera has enough battery power and you can keep the camera in your pocket until you want to start logging the event. When the event is finished you can place the camera back in to your pocket and head home for example.

An improvement which I have recently noticed is that when you put the camera to charge it can automatically upload the day’s images to the narrativeapp website and you can then select what you want to share.

As cameras get smaller and more portable and as they become more specialised so we have an opportunity to get different types of images. One is for time lapses, the other has a powerful zoom, the third allows us to capture spherical images and the fourth is practical for sharing to social media.


Pride and media consumption

I enjoyed reading the Unbearable Lightness of Being so much that I read every book by Milan Kundera. I also read every book by Albert Camus because I enjoyed reading La Peste so much. Laura M. Holson wrote an article about “Unplugging without FOMO” which I skimmed after someone on twitter commented on twitter that Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 18.45.06

and I strongly disagree with this person’s view. It brings us to the conversation about high and low culture. I take the view that media consumption should be focused on high culture. For my dissertation I watched hundreds of documentaries. I watched every David Attenborough documentary, every Jacques Yves Cousteau documentary. I read many books and articles on the topic of the documentary genre and as a result I take pride in the knowledge that I have acquired in the process.

When I skimmed through the article I saw that the discussions were about low culture, about tabloid topics. They speak about things that I would never discuss as they are of no importance or interest. These are things that have no effect on my quality of life.

At the same time I do feel the usual regret. Mid to late adopters came to social media, made it tabloid and then complain about the stream which they and their friends generated. In my childhood I read encyclopedia articles during breakfast, as a teen I spent hours in computer rooms learning about webmastering and search engine optimisation before others were interested. I was experimenting with video compression tools in the late 1990s and gained a deep understanding of the tools that would lead from new media to social media. The conversations were about culture and people took a constructive attitude.

From 2009 onwards I saw the shift away from personal conversations between friends to the hunt for followers and the loss of the personal connection and I blogged about it. As I went back to read the article about unplugging so I see a reaction to what I have been saying for years now. Articles are being written for people with no staying power. Social networks are becoming broadcast rather than exchange and the superficiality of the web is driving people away.

I am happy that social media and microblogging are beyond their sell by date because it means that I can give time up to blogging once again. I can once again discuss topics that interest me in long form. It means that we will spend more time reading, more time learning once again. That is the beauty of the shift away from social media.

In reality I have nothing to gain from participating in the Meme media. Même media, the Same media. The media where people use hashtags to be certain that they are in the flock, the flock of hashtag users rather than conversationalists.

If I can’t converse I will have a monologue and people who are like minded will find me and we shall converse away from the madding crowd. Someday I will read that book. I love to read and I love to write. Today I am doing both as it’s raining outside.

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Threaded conversations and community

From the 1970s to 2007 we had threaded conversations through bulletin boards, forums, groups and other centralising discussion points. For a brief window of about two years conversations became so captivating that people wanted to meet in person as strong friendships were established. By 2009-2010 the threaded and personal conversations between web users was hijacked by “social media” marketers and so the speed of conversation and quality of interactions collapsed. In it’s place hashtags would replace user engagement with quick metrics.

The golden age of conversation has been replaced by the dark ages of indifference. Every day that we spend online we see how disengaged people have become. Look at twitter. Do you still see user to user conversations. Look at Facebook. Do you still see engaging content and passionate conversations? I see a waste of time. The conversations which were taking place have been replaced by dumbed down headlines and sensationalist content.

For several years we have heard about how corporations should not have access to our data because of what they will do with it. From where I am surfing the web and interacting with the online community I see a more serious problem. I see that as the chance of individual to individual conversations has decreased so the quality of shared articles, videos and other content has been dumbed down. This is evident on Facebook and Twitter. These networks are becoming ghost towns. They have millions of user profiles that are slowly going dormant.

That social media networks are going dormant is excellent. Instead of wasting time with Ello, Diaspora and other solutions I believe that going back to the blogging habit will benefit everyone. It is decentralised, it is interest based and it is long form. Through tools, through Disqus and other solutions so our ability to connect and communicate is improved. It forces us to be positive and to be accountable. Everything that you share can contribute to your reputation and help share your passions. We should not be hidden behind silos and we should not be anonymous. We need to break the twitter and Facebook duopoly.

Glympse and real time location sharing

Glympse is a real time location software that allows you to share your location with twitter, facebook, by e-mail or via a number of other social networks. It is simple and intuitive to use. Connect your facebook, twitter and other services with the application. When you are heading to work or to the mountains for a ski trip you can start to share your location in real time. You can set the amount of time that the location is shared.

This is better than google latitude, foursquare and other services because it requires nothing from the receiver of this location sharing offer. Instead they simply click a link and they are kept up to date with your location progress.

The flexibility of this service gives the user good control therefore fearing for your privacy is not so relevant.

What I would like to see in future versions is the ability to play back the route we have taken. I would like to playback the train trip from one city in Switzerland for example.

Google Latitude and Automatic stalking for only your closest friends

logo of google latitude Google latitude is the perfect tool for anyone that works and has a life where logging into locations would be an unsightly thing to do. By that I mean that you can’t arrive at work and log into the location. It gives colleagues the impression you are not serious about your work.

Now take this same situation in a social context. You go hiking and the people around you are not necessarily as passionate about technology. They’re walking around with paper maps after all.

That’s where Google latitude comes into it’s own. Location is tracked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week every single day that your device is on.

Why am I doing this? Am I not mad? Do I not have this location information to hide, and no shame? Well of course I have things to hide and shame but with this network only your closest friends can see where you are. And they only know your current location, not your previous locations.

That’s where the service differs from foursquare, gowalla, yelp and all the others. Your location history is private. Only you have access to it.

Then why use it in the first place? Well that’s simple. It’s a lifelog that’s not broadcast. You can keep track of how much time you’ve spent at home, at work and out socialising. Once a week I get to find out whether I was at work for more than fifty hours, whether I was at home for too many hours. More importantly i get to see whether I should not be a little more active in going out, from a personal life point of view. That’s where I’m lacking at the moment. Google latitude’s dashboard will help change that.

Now, how could it improve? First of all automatic location check in. If I’m by starbucks in Geneva airport log me in if I’m seeing that network more than ten minutes. If I’m at the apple store for that amount of time log me in there. If I’m at a bar and I lose signal in that region due to poor network coverage then assume I’m in that bar.

By being automatic and private location information could be quite a bit more interesting. More to the point that data is being collected anyway by mobile operators so why not take advantage of this?

I believe this to be the future of mobile geo-location. With more android phones out there and more devices capable of multitasking this could easily become the norm.

Foursquare and evolving electronic social meetings

We’ve all got smartphones. Some of us are using Nokia,  others are using blackberries and yet more are using Android and Iphones. As a result when we interact with people we are not interacting with them from a desk somewhere in a building. We’re interacting with them from the middle of the street or on public transport.

As the shift from computers to mobile devices gains momentum we will be meeting more and more people this way. For the past decade it was reserved to geeks through many different sites. At first it was all about protecting your identity and being anonymous. That changed. From Geocities, through myspace and to facebook we have grown more accustomed to sharing more personal information about who we are and where we hang out. As a result of this increasing familiarity, and as more people grow to understand the advantages and pitfalls of online interaction so a new type of activity is taking form.

From twitter where avatars were used to facebook where profile pictures are used our digital identity has evolved, become more open, and more open. On twitter we used to use avatars but more and more people use pictures of themselves. As a result of this the level of trust has improved.

That’s where brightkyte and other websites are starting to become the norm. Recently I have been using Foursquare. I can follow as more and more people locally, in Geneva check in to different places. If I’m at Geneva airport for example I check in and I can see who else has checked in at this location. It’s an international location so there is a good chance of not meeting people there. In other locations though, as more people from our physical group of friends, and by this I mean non geeks, use these services so they gain relevance for “normal people”.

Mix this in with the Iphone and the ease of use of the mobile apps we have some interesting new tools and services by which to meet new people. If I go to Les Brasseurs in Lausanne, Geneva or Nyon so I see who else has been there and could decide to meet them and see whether we enjoy their company when meeting face to face.

Foursquare has a feature that I find interesting, we can share our phone number with those whom we trust to be friends and so we can exchange a few messages before meeting them in person, building trust and assessing the character of the person before meeting. Over a period of a few weeks as trust builds up so we can discuss whether to meet in person.

For those of you reading this on my blog the idea is old. You’ve already been to 20 tuttles, tweetups, seesmeetups and other events and you’re a veteran of this type of meetup. For others, who are more used to glocals and facebook though the idea is relatively new. You might feel uncomfortable about this way of doing things. To you I say one thing. As more of your friends use these services, and as your network of trusted friends grows on these services grow so your motivation will grow to meet others.

Take the frontline club in London as a case example. If I went there once and checked in only that time, never to come back then you would know not be so inclined to see about meeting me. If you see someone else checks in often to this place then your motivation to meet them may increase. As a result of several people checking in to that same location a number of times so the cluster of people may increase and become more important.

As an example think of the independent cinemas that may be close to where you live, the City in Pully in Lausanne. As four or five people check in more often and through the common interest finally you may decide to meet.

The key advantage of services like foursquare is that these sites are local. That is to say that you are kept aware of what those around you are doing. You are not inundated by the irrelevance of what the international community are doing but rather the local. The benefit of such services is they are providing you with local more relevant people to meet, without the effect of isolation that other types of services may make you feel.

The drawback of services like twitter is that you are given a lot of irrelevant information. You don’t need to know who chats with who, what they are doing. Instead you simply see where they’ve been and how often. That’s where the relevance of the badges and mayorships come in. For different type of activities so you get a unique type of badge. If you check into a gym for example, you acquire the gym rat badge. It is unlocked for going to a venue with the tag gym. If you go ten times in a month, so people will know that you enjoy going to the gym. As other badges are created, for going to the cinema or the pub so you can see which people are most active in those forms of activities, hence learning of the relevance of their interest in similar activities.

This is not a dating site, and it’s not a place for geeks. Unlike yelp and trustedplaces you do not need to give your opinion of the venue, it’s a three second “this is where I am and this is how many times I’ve been there” type statement. As the number of users increases so the opportunities to meet people with similar habits increases.

Of course you can add tips and what to do at these locations, which others can see. As different types of personalities go to different places so the recommendations will increase. As you see what people recommend you do, at different times of the year so the wealth of ideas will increase.

The foursquare app on the mobile phone allows you to arrive in a place you have not visited, click on what’s near me, see what venues are already in the database, see what people recommend you do and for you to go to those places and add yourself to those places and acknowledging that you have done what others have suggested. It’s an interesting idea that will come of age within the next few months as more and more users pick up these new habits on sharing local information and experiences. This is in effect part of the social medial lifestyle that some of us have been discussing for a number of years by now.

The Facebook and Friendfeed lifestye

Facebook and friendfeed are now the same thing. They both provide exactly the same thing but for different audiences. Facebook is a network of real friends, where you share everything with those that count on you as a friend. That’s where you get party pictures, relationship statuses and more. Friendfeed is where you go to get world news, current affairs and industry information from people you have yet to meet.

Both of them now allow you to filter your information by groups or lists. I for one have two twitter lists in Facebook, twitter friends I’ve already met and had a good time with, and a second twitter stream where it’s twitter friends I have yet to meet. That’s where I can follow those of you whom I have unfollowed on the real twitter, for lack of proper interaction.

On friendfeed I have a twitter stream as well, but this is raw, I can still react to your twitter stream by selecting to comment straight into the twitter stream or by proxy through comments in friendfeed. In part this evolves according to how willing you are to adopt the friendfeed lifestyle.

I’ve been thinking of friendfeed and how friends in news could use it. I spent four hours at work, off the clock, chatting with someone that works in news, but doesn’t use google reader and speaking about how we, as individuals filter our news. Everyone does it, but most people are happy jumping from one site to another to get the information. The website that person looked at does have RSS feeds which could be aggregated into google reader and feedly.

That’s an important advantage. It means that when you’re off work, in between shifts you can still get all the news coming to you, but without using the professional systems. It means that you shape the information flow, as well as it’s speed. The more sources you add to your reader, the faster information comes in and overwhelms you, if the right filters are not in place.

Look at the social media landscape now and it’s not that busy if you’re looking for hard news but that will change as people grow more accustomed to the way the current social media types use it.

We need to shift away from the social media types to the lifestylers. I use this term to describe everyone that uses the social media, not as a promotional tool for their activities and their blog posts, but instead for the content created by others with society at large as a source of information gatherers and sharers.

How would friendfeed look if the film and television industry used it. How much more conversational would the WEF Davos room on friendfeed have been if those participating in the conference conversed here, as much as at the events. A lot of conversation is invisible because those who talk about it do so with those in the industry. What if part of that discourse came online?

Look at the BBC website for example, and how it provides three top stories today, Madagascar and the new president, Russia and it’s rearmement plan and Fritzl. If the news editors for the News agencies met on friendfeed and discussed the top three international stories how much richer would the dialogue be? How many more related stories would we find?

We can get a taste for this from Google’s news page, according to country. You can see which stories are the most written about and see how the dialogue is advancing but that’s an algorithm. It requires little time or involvement to exist. As a result recommendations may not be that interesting, or that well selected.

Imagine a top three international stories room on Friendfeed and how that would progress, as news agencies provide items for national news bulletins. You could have sub sets to that room according to regions according to treaty alliances. There could be a room where NATO encourage Europt to work closer, making Europe as an entity more powerful. You see that with recent discussions from various recent Nato events.

I watched and listened to plenary sessions taking place in Africa during the when live streams were being made available by the event organisers for greater transparency. Some sessions were on the front page of the website. As a result even if you were not invited to the event there was a certain degree of transparency, the same was true of the World Economic Forum. As part of my work I have been streaming such events and I have tried listening in, to see what people were saying.
What is a shame is that at the moment there is no diversity in these online communities. Only the earliest of the technologically adopters are participating. the conversation, as a result is boring for anyone but those hyper-engaged within these communities. I use the term hyper-engaged because in reality there is a lot of information coming in. All of that information takes time to ingest. The best way to absorb all of that information is for us to watch it in real time.

Facebook have that option now, the real time view, if I remember the term correctly, and that will help to introduce a large portion of people to what is called the “Real time web”. The real time web is best demonstrated by the real-time view on friendfeed. People are finding new sites, commenting on links and more n real time. As soon as something is added to the stream you see it. If you’ve got two or more screens then you can monitor all of this in real time. There are apps to help with the assimilation of all this information.

Of course we’re not there yet, at the moment the geekiest of the geeks are playing with it, and some have more time than others to be invested in this. It’s just that it’s so well adapted to all professions that it will be interesting to see how Friendfeed and Facebook revolutionise the way we get our information and how we react to it. What I love most is that because facebook brings that to over three hundred of my university, school and work friends we, social media types have an easier job of driving adoption to the masses.